Today's full programme, more choices & comment
A cliffside town on the brink of literal collapse is the setting for When The Sea Swallows Us Whole - a production that is engaging and baffling by turns. The story follows Mila’s inner and outer reactions after the arrival of city girl Posy awakens unfamiliar feelings in her. But the fate of the town, and her long-time friendship with nervy Doll, place emotional and metaphysical obstacles in her path to self-acceptance.
Directed by Michael Grandage Bursary recipient Beth Kapila, WHEN THE SEA SWALLOWS US WHOLE is a queer love story glittering amidst the debris of erosion.<br/>In a town on the East coast, the tide whips away harder and faster every day. Some people have just months – even weeks – before losing their homes to the ocean. Mila is trying to decipher why her mum has packed up and left while her best friend Doll entertains his obsession with wild cats. It’s bleak but fine, until the arrival of city girl Posy. Mila knows that now is not the time to play fast and loose with the will of God, which is absolutely not a problem because she is definitely not in love with the new girl.<br/>Stuck between the unforgiving sea and a community that runs on gossip and fear mongering, the play explores societal pressures on young people in the LGBTQ+ community and the heartbreak of living in a coastal town that is being torn apart by a climate emergency. <br/>‘Pomona’ meets ‘Juno’ in this spooky and alternative, coming of age drama premiering at London’s VAULT festival<br/>CAST:
Charlotte O’Leary - Jacoba Williams - Jack Archer
On Arriving is a new one-woman play, exploring a young refugee’s fight for survival, as her country falls apart before her eyes. <br/>We are transported back and forth through memories as she shares her journey; from the familiarity of joking with friends and navigating young love, to what it means to lose loved ones and what we call home.<br/>Presented through a non-linear structure - reflecting the way we recall memories - this brave, poetic play looks at the human moments of one person’s choice to leave a place they have known their entire life, to set off for something unknown.<br/>Sophia Eleni performs with deep, personal connection to the story of home and war, her own family having been made refugees when fleeing Cyprus in 1974 after the Turkish invasion.<br/>The play is directed by Cat Robey, Deputy Artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre.<br/>It is written by Ivan Faute, an award winning playwright from the US, who has worked with Bosnian refugees in America and minority students in Vietnam, where he lived for several years.<br/>Praise for the earlier short version:<br/>“With Cat Robey directing, it is of course performed with compassion and care. Actress Sophia Eleni ably captures all the anger, frustration and desperation from having to leave the most important thing behind.” ????View From The Gods<br/>“A strongly performed and emotionally charged piece of theatre.” LondonTheatre1
TUNA is a new darkly comic look at the unsexy side of girls growing up around guns; the knottiness of social mobility, and a meatier side of female criminality. It's a little less beautiful-bond-girl and a little more British school-girl. Semi-autobiographical and stored in brine.<br/>Higher education is dangled in front of her face like a carrot on a stick. Before she can snatch it from the air, our girl must navigate her rehabilitation group; protect her cat-obsessed sister and fend off the cash fairy. Trying desperately to find an escape, and not become a product of her upbringing. However, it's all made harder when the toys you played with as a kid were semi-automatic. <br/>There's physical comedy, stand up, storytelling and a bit with a bath. All of this comes together to tell this unique, true-crime-esque story. We get a small look inside a life that began surrounded by illegality, and whether those circumstances make a person congenitally criminal.
London has had some of it's bloodiest years in decades at the hands of offenders that are getting younger and younger. Rather than present day consequences for these crimes, shouldn't we focus energy on understanding the lives and circumstances of those involved? <br/>TUNA isn't going to solve anything, but it's going to tell you a story unlike anything you've seen before.<br/>Following scratch performances at The Bunker theatre in 2019, TUNA travelled from to The Kings Head Theatre as part of the Playmill new writing festival, garnering incredible audience feedback and forward momentum. TUNA then played at various off-west-end London venues before embarking upon it's first full run at the VAULT festival 2020.
The ‘remarkable’ (Scotsman) and bite-sized Jack AG Britton presents Mighty; a TED-talk-meets-theatre show that combines comedy, live music and spoken word to ask the big (or little) question: should we be taking Heightism more seriously?
Often whimsical, sometimes woeful, Mighty delves into masculinity, body image and mental health in a documentary performance that could just about make it onto the best rides at Alton Towers.
'Hilarious and thought provoking' **** Three Weeks
Joe has always been a nerd. As a kid he was unaware of it. As a teenager he hid it. As a twenty-something he owned it. But as Joe turned 30, two things occurred to him. Firstly, humanity had been given 12 years to save the world from climate chaos, and what was Joe doing? Playing games and watching films, that's what. Secondly, he'd always felt like the fandoms he belonged to gave him a community when he was isolated. But, as he looked closer, it seemed some of those communities had become perpetrators of the very things they once provided respite from. It's like Buzz Lightyear said: "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." Wait...what?<br/>Fanboy is a love-hate letter to the things we adore absolutely, unconditionally and obsessively. It also asks questions about the nature of fandom. Is our relationship with pop-culture and nostalgia preventing us from engaging with the present? Are we worshipping false gods? And - when Donald Trump claims he could shoot someone and not lose voters - just how far will fans go for their idols? <br/>Multi-award-winning Worklight Theatre (How to Start a Riot, Labels, Monster) return to VAULT Festival to present a work-in-progress of their brand new show. Written by Fringe First winner Joe Sellman-Leava, and directed by Yaz Al-Shaater, Fanboy is a blend of storytelling, comedy and performance art. Fast-paced, funny, and highly visual, expect mini-versions of your favourite films. Like Harry Potter in 60 seconds. The Marvel Cinematic Universe in 60 seconds. And Gone in 60 Seconds in 60 seconds. Expect hand-drawn fan-art filling the floor, slash fiction and haikus filling the air, and the smell of the 90s filling your nostrils...whatever that means.<br/>And expect more quotes, references and easter eggs than Pixar films have Randy Newman songs!
Do you remember the last time you were held? Like really held?<br/>I don’t mean that awkward quick wrap of the arms we feel we need to do when greeting someone, or that weird mistimed was it a hug or handshake business. I mean really held. Yeah, Me neither.<br/>The truth is I think we're scared. We are scared to touch, to hold, to be held, to give in, to let go. Why is it that in a world where we are the most "connected" we feel the most alone?<br/>What if what we are missing isn’t a pill to swallow or a pillow to scream in? What if all we need is a cuddle? In fact, human touch releases a cocktail of chemicals in our brain which contributes to reduced anxiety levels, immune support, reduced blood pressure and lowers cortisol levels.<br/>“The Art of Cuddling and Other Things.” explores topics such as human touch, connection, loneliness and isolation using high level acrobatics, dance and theatre. Combining artforms to produce images that allow us to look into ourselves and each other.
Meet Miss Donny.
Life hasn't quite turned out the way she thought it would when she accepted her sash and crown, stood on a podium in Trilogy nightclub back in 2007.
No-one goes out any more. Tinder is shit. And she's pretty sure her dad is dying.
Things couldn't get much worse. Until she sits on a Cactus...
The philosophical musings of an existential fool. Omar used to be on the left, his new position is ‘The Transcendental Centre’, think Lib Dem on acid. In an attempt to move away from liberal orthodoxy and shape his own world view, Omar risks losing all of his friends, by thinking for himself. A simmering offering of comical heresy served up by a delightful idiot.
On the eve of her 22nd birthday, Kerry Frampton got pregnant, catapulting her into the life of a young mum. 22 years later, Matilda's wondering how the fuck her mum did it. Together, mum and daughter retrace the events that have defined them. Bound together in a constant cycle of separation and closeness, how do you figure out who you are, separately from the people that are a part of you? Who are you without them? That complicated, fierce, unquestioning love between two people, that is simultaneously too much and never enough. How do you navigate the world without that person? Join this mum and daughter duo as they attempt to figure it out without ending up in close spoon or physical fight in the process.
Five parties. One big mouth. <br/>Bri's not who she used to be, so she's revisiting the five parties that changed her. A biting and heartfelt dark comedy about what it really means to be loud, this new play is a story of survival, an exploration of self-awareness and a lesson in how to throw a really good party. Sellout shows Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Pleasance Theatre "Best of Edinburgh" Season 2019. <br/>***** "Unforgettable" (Broadway Baby)
***** "A raw, triumphant and soaring one-woman odyssey" (Stage Whispers)
**** "Pure genius" (North West End)
**** (Feminist Fringe Review)
**** (Remote Goat)
Ever found yourself stuck in a rat? Unpleasant, isn't it? Time marches on, but you're on the spot. Not even marching. Very still. Stagnating, even. Stuck in that rat. We've all been there. Join Anna O'Grady and Helen Cripps in their debut show for a chance of getting out. The future is exciting and it's still in front of you. If you've got the questions, they've got the answers*. *Depends on the questions. As seen on Flowers (C4 and Netflix).<br/>" this double act could make anything funny...comedic bliss" **** Guardian<br/>"every bit of the show... is exploited for comedy, and the result is a madcap romp of gentle silliness" **** One4Review<br/>‘creative, fun and full of music and is not one to be missed.’ **** VoiceUK
"You're here so I can keep on living. You're my legacy."<br/>Set in the near future as the climate crisis takes hold, Lana decides to clone herself so she can continue her life, relationship and digital presence. Lena takes on Lana's identity but the life and world she has inherited is not what she expected.<br/>Me Myself I is about how we continue to create meaning in a world that is disappearing.<br/>Brought to you by a team of multiple Off West End Award nominees, Me Myself I is written by Carla Grauls (Audible Emerging Writer, Nick Darke Award winner), directed by Andrew Twyman (Velvet - VAULT Festival, Pleasance Edinburgh Fringe, on tour) and presented by Holly White (Brilliant Jerks - VAULT Show of the Week 2018. Finding Fassbender - VAULT Festival, Pleasance Edinburgh Fringe).
“He was a boy, she was a girl. Can I make it anymore binary?”<br/>When friends die and pronouns change, what's left of the memories that don't fit anymore? From childhood co-stars, through teenage rebellion, a moving and powerful autobiographical account about growing up queer in the mid-noughties, finding yourself, and losing a friend. Brought to life with storytelling, an original pop music score and way too many America’s Next Top Model references.
Crime. Justice. Nonsense. The Free Association present their riotously funny all-star improvised cop show. <br/>Ride along with the brave police officers behind The Badge. No rookies here - just seasoned vets, one day away from retirement, protecting the innocent and serving up hot, hilarious justice. On the beat and completely off the cuff. <br/>For anyone who's ever watched a cop show, this fully improvised cop show parody features some of the most experienced improvisers in the UK, including Graham Dickson (Austentatious), Alison Thea-Skot, Naomi Petersen, Shaun Lowthian, Chris Gau, Ian Thomas Day, Freya Slipper and Vic Barry.<br/>This show is one of a series of hit improv shows presented by The Free Association in a two-week VAULT takeover. Other shows include Jacuzii, SORRY, I’m Not Here To Make Friends, The Nearly News Show, Starry Starry Eyes, RAD Party, Important Art, LGBTQFA and Minority Report. Book two for £15 or three for £20 as part of The Free Association Package Deal.
Halfway through his life according to the life expectancy calculator, Watson takes an audit of his time on earth in this WIP of his brand new show. His thirties have been eventful to say the least. At 40, his life is in the best shape in living memory... but one problem remains, and it really is a huge one. Spiritual enquiry meets high-octane observational comedy as the still very skinny Watson, as usual, attempts to cram a year of pathological overthinking into just under an hour's (surprisingly cheap!) standup. Maybe we'll even solve the huge problem. Doubt it, though.<br/>***** “Quite unlike anything else I’ve seen in almost 20 years of covering the Fringe...witty, warm, perfectly judged” Telegraph
**** "This is a stand-up operating at the very top of his game" Independent
****“He always displays an innate understanding of what the audience wants...creating a bespoke experience for every gig, an added flourish to a strong hour of stand-up” Chortle
**** “A quick-fire hour of fun” Metro
**** “A classy, confident hour of comedy from one of the Fringe's most celebrated sons” Fest
Welcome to Beijing. Population: 21 million. Plus four Brits. Lost Laowais follows the intertwining lives of four expats in one of Asia’s largest metropolises and asks: can Westerners ever find a home in Chinese society?<br/>(L?owài ??. Noun. Colloquial term for a foreigner, literally 'old outsider'.)<br/>While translator Julian is looking for a flatmate, he meets Lisa, a British-born Chinese woman who has abruptly upended her life to teach English in a country that is quickly turning out not to live up to her expectations. Their initial meeting turns into a clash regarding the politics of China’s expatriate population. Meanwhile, celebrated writer and ‘old China hand’ Robert is beginning to tire of twenty years of feeling like an outsider. And ‘third culture kid’ Ollie is chafing under the pressures of overbearing diplomat parents whose lifestyle sees them uprooting their lives and moving across the world every few years. As the characters’ lives collide, Lost Laowais asks: how does the West approach China in the 21st century? And have we really moved on from our colonialist past?
We are seafarers. We catch fish, always have.<br/>The ocean is at the centre of all life. But especially for Julie and Simon, who have grown up with salt seeping into their bloodstream, their childhoods tangled up with the Cornish Coast. And the sea has always been there, sustaining generations of their families.<br/>But as adulthood looms on the horizon, and climate and ecological crisis shake the globe, Julie begins to dream of a life lived inland among the bright lights of the city, and Simon's nets keep coming back empty.<br/>Set amidst the decline of the British Fishing Industry, In My Lungs the Ocean Swells is a coming-of-age story, about holding on to who you think you are, in a world that is trying its best to shake that from your grasp.
Get ready for some high-octane musical comedy fun from carnage-wielding, storm-stud of a snazzy idiot: Katie Pritchard. Expect incredible (very hand-made) costumes, chaos, and pumping choons in a riotous romp through Katie's synapses; enjoy observational comedy from a completely different angle. <br/>WINNER Musical Comedy Awards 2019
WINNER 2Northdown New Act of the Year 2019<br/>"Inventive and hilarious" (Broadway Baby)
"Katie Pritchard is a veritable Sizewell B" (Chortle)
"Mindblowing" (Herts Advertiser)
"Always original and entertaining" (Female Arts Magazine)
“Fantastically weird” (Femedy)
"An explosion of joyful lunacy" (Stuart Goldsmith, The Comedian's Comedian Podcast)
MARTIN! Cider, Farming, Ice Creams, Village halls, CHASE IT! Trago Mills, Rats, Cheese, Swans, Wetsuits, Axes, Facebook marketplace, Owls and Bin night. CHASE IT, MARTIN! Award winning stand up from your new favourite village idiot. ‘Quick and easy wit and energetic style' - Leicester Mercury. 'Baker handled the crowd brilliantly from the very start' - Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke.
Patricia has spent a year crafting a kick ass speech while recovering from an abusive relationship. But when she bumps into her ex on the street, and accidentally agrees to dinner with him that night, she's got some big decisions to make; what to wear? What to say? And whether or not to go? Join Patricia as she gets ready for the date; tells stories of her past, how it has affected her present, and looks honestly at her future.<br/>Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her) is an honest, funny and heartbreaking look at what it is to recover from trauma. Aiming to shatter the weathered stereotype of the 'broken woman,' this show presents a survivor, in all her colours.
The Committee specialise in long-form, character driven comedy improv. Join them for big laughs with a whole load of heart. Made up of hotshots from the comedy, acting and writing worlds - you will have seen them in one way or another on: BBC1, BBC2, BBC Radio 4, Netflix and Channel 4.
Come on in, the water's fine... In this critically acclaimed improvised comedy show, an all-star of improvisers will be join by a very special guest 'monologist'. <br/>Our guest will take a one-word suggestion from the audience to inspire their ‘monologue’ - true stories, opinions, thoughts, and anecdotes from their own life. These monologues are sometimes dark, sometimes racy, usually weird and always real! <br/>Our all-star team of improvisers will then use these monologues to inspire completely improvised scenes and sketches, for a fast-paced, electric and hilarious hour of comedy. Every show is completely different, but one thing is for sure - It’s all created in the moment, before your very eyes.<br/>GUESTS NOW ANNOUNCED:<br/>Friday 7th Feb with special guest AMELIA DIMOLDENBERG
Saturday 8th Feb with special guest JORDAN BROOKES
Saturday 15th Feb with special guest GEORGINA CAMPBELL<br/>This show is one of a series of hit improv shows presented by The Free Association in a two-week VAULT takeover. Other shows include SORRY, The Nearly News Show, The Badge: An Improvised Cop Show, The Nearly News Show, Starry Starry Eyes, RAD Party, Important Art, LGBTQFA and Minority Report. Book two for £15 or three for £20 as part of The Free Association Package Deal.
Following a surprising (and culturally deeply unsettling) sell-out smash-hit ruin* at the Edinburgh fringe, this mindbogglingly awful (and disquietingly successful) idea for a comedy
extravaganza face-plants into the VAULT Festival. JLR wrangles together an all-star cast of the best comedians and worst idiots into creating a never-before-seen adaptation of an unadaptable text.<br/>Previous catastrophic attempts include Francis Fukuyama's discredited political treatise The End of History, post-structuralist Roland Barthes' A Lover's Discourse, the iTunes Terms and
Conditions, Ulysses & Á la Recherche du Temps Perdu. February's treats will be revealed each night.<br/>*This is a typo for “ruin” but has been kept for posterity.
This all-female horror story is deliciously spine-tingling, yet riven through with comedy, too. The tale surrounds a family - a mother, three daughters, and a mysterious friend - who re-unite for the first time in years after their father’s funeral. The father was a doll-maker, there’s an ominous locked workshop… and it goes without saying that a secret’s buried somewhere in the family’s past.
Three sisters travel home for the funeral of their father, who happens to be the world’s greatest Dollmaker. With their mother on the edge of sanity, and an unsolved case haunting the family, the sisters must unearth dark secrets to find out: what did the dolls see?<br/>A delight for fans of true crime with a plot that unravels like a mystery podcast. This a play about sisterhood, and the pressure upon women to fit into the perfect china mould. Not recommended for those with a phobia of dolls... or a fear of feminism.<br/>Written by Nic Lamont who has penned dark comedy for BBC3 and BBC Radio 4.
Legs are what most humans stand on. They also allow humans to walk, crouch and lunge. If at any point in your life you have used your legs, thought about legs or if you know someone with legs, then this is the show for you. Legs. <br/>Winner of the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality 2019
SOLD OUT run at Soho Theatre<br/>"Brilliantly unpredictable. It is the bee's knees of sketch shows. This one will run and run."
“it reaches the purest forms of nonsense and silly... do yourself a favour and use your legs to go see Legs.” ****The Skinny
**** The List
**** Beyond The Joke <br/>Directed by award-winning theatre maker and comedian Dan Lees (Winner, Judges Award for Theatre, Mimetic Festival 2014 and 2 time Weekly Award Winner Adelaide Fringe) and one half of acclaimed double act The Establishment and co-founder of the London Clown Festival.
An original horror story with jump scares and a bit of well placed gore. Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Medusa. You'll scream or be sick. That's the aim.<br/>A taxidermist loses her temper and decides to experiment with the human form...<br/>With live foley and horror tricks inspired by the gruesome Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol - GORGON is a horror show to delight and scare in equal measure - focussing on that taboo subject... female anger.<br/>Created by award winning and renowned comedian and clown ELF LYONS (Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Show Nominee 2017)
Stuff on stage, stuff on screen. A colourful showcase of exciting and innovative comedy talent. Performers onstage trying out new and experimental material; a mix of stand-up, sketch, character, musical comedy and everything in-between, all peppered with short comedy films and music videos from some of the world's finest new filmmakers.<br/>Line up - <br/>Rose Matafeo
Johnny White Really-Really
Fresh from a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Nick brings the mellow thunder back to London with a show containing jokes, tales of stubbornness and homeopathic levels of toxicity. <br/>If you've ever asked the question “can a leopard change his spots?” then this is the show for you. (Also, why don't you just leave the leopard alone? Maybe he's fine and doesn't want to talk right now? And let's face it, it's not like he's going to change that much at this stage of the game, is he?)<br/>Praise for Big Nick Energy, Edinburgh 2019:
**** 'Brilliantly penned gags... a perceptive portrait of middle age' - The List
**** 'A cracking display' - Three Weeks
**** 'A fantastic Fringe experience' - Short Com
**** 'A brilliant blend of jokes' - Edinburgh Festivals
You, the audience, have been cast in Big Show. Meet the team of professionals (played by Sami Abu Wardeh) who will guide you through rehearsals. As newly cast chorus members, you will complete the show and take it to new heights of artistic expression and financial gain.
Late Night Gimp Fight are wiping down the masks once again and this time they're bringing some younger, more talented comedians with them for the ride. Expect songs, inappropriate punchlines and the sight of five men in their mid thirties questioning their life choices on stage whilst dancing...
Collective act of golden manifestation, sacred laughter bath and ceremonial mess-about orchestrated by a preposterously dazzling goddess. Very golden, mostly truthful. Sacred as holy hell.<br/>Lucy Hopkins is an award-winning clown, director, teacher, priestess, clever person and lover of humans. Recently, she has appeared in the Spencer Jones's The Mind of Herbert Clunkerdunk (BBC) and been an associate director of Caroline Horton's acclaimed piece of theatre All Of Me.<br/>"Hopkins is fantastic" Guardian<br/>**** ‘Hopkins is utterly present... an otherworldly vision in gold... in this extraordinary transformative happening, which leaves its audience with a deep feeling of peace’ Scotsman<br/>***** ‘Outstandingly original... Lucy Hopkins is a golden-goddess revelation in this extraordinary power hour of one woman’s improvisation and the healing power of comedy’ ToDoList<br/>MUST SEE SHOW ‘Only Lucy Hopkins can Lucy Hopkins like Lucy Hopkins’ FringeReview.com<br/>***** ‘Lucy Hopkins will transform you... takes femininity and turns it into the most spiritual, enchanting and indeed: powerful of phenomena... a wickedly enjoyable hour"’ EdFringeReview.com